It's Summer time! Let's go outside! Outdoor activities for board gamers
Ben Kirman
United Kingdom
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
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I like the outdoors, and I like board gaming. These are the few activities I've found that appeal to my board gamer side and also get me fresh air and exercise.

I've only found a few so please please volunteer examples of this for everyone to try! Ideally not lawn-style games or "big" sports, but things that will get us outdoors and using our board game brains.

Is there any board game that would convert well to an outdoor setting? Maybe Power Grid on bikes with dynamos? Settlers on 3 mile wide hexes?

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1. Board Game: Murder on the Orient Express [Average Rating:5.70 Unranked]
Ben Kirman
United Kingdom
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
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Orienteering

I'm not much of a running fan - some people love it and get into the "zone" and can run for billions of miles, but after a mile or so I get really really bored! Orienteering solves this problem by keeping your mind active and adds the variety and challenge to make running more exciting. As with everything, some people take it too seriously and competitively, but the rest of us can enjoy barreling through the woods at dangerous speeds, stopping only when we fall into ponds or get entangled in brambles.

It is a map reading game where you are handed a map and a marker sheet - all you have to do is visit each spot on the map in the correct order, and get the correct stamp in each box to prove it. My favourite variant has a time limit (usually 45 minutes) in which you must visit as many "control points" as possible in whatever order you want.



It is far more exciting than it seems - I think the maps are particularly beautiful, and your map-reading/planning skills will be put to the test. Is it quicker to jog an extra 150m along a path or take a 50m short cut through the ferns?

Great summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orienteering
Governing body: http://www.orienteering.org/
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2. Board Game: Geoclues [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Ben Kirman
United Kingdom
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
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Geocaching
I'm guessing most people here have at least heard of geocaching. It appeals to board gamers through the twin obsessions of discovery and gadgetry. Very simply it is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS receiver to locate a hidden "cache" filled with various bits of treasure. Some caches are more complicated and involve solving riddles and puzzles.

This is very appealing because there are more caches than you might imagine, and as was the case for me, some of them are hidden right along a route you travel along every day. You get to discover great little secret beauty spots in your local area and get to feel a bit like a spy - grabbing and hiding caches when no one is looking!



This is the most sedate activity I've listed and is excellent for kids. There can be a competitive element in trying to get "FTF". That stands for "First to Find" and is awarded to the first person to find a newly hidden cache. These are coveted and you could find yourself getting up in the middle of the night to head out to a park and find a new cache before anyone else does.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching
http://www.geocaching.com/
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3. Board Game: Weed! [Average Rating:5.23 Overall Rank:13922]
Ben Kirman
United Kingdom
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
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Hash House Harriers
Another running based activity, but this time the focus is much more on the social aspect. It is the party game of sports!

In this one, a "hare" lays a trail of chalk/flour around an area and everyone must follow it. There are twists in that the trail can fork in several directions, all except one will be a false trail. This has the effect that the fast runners do the extra work of checking out the wrong routes, giving the slower runners like me a chance to catch up. Competitiveness is extremely discouraged and everyone has a drink or three and sometimes a sing-song at the end (and sometimes half way around the trail!). Some groups aren't family friendly (swearing, drinking & rude songs) so check before bringing kids.

This photo from my local group really defines the correct attitude:


If you regularly travel with work like me, this is definitely one to try because the social nature means "hashers" are great hosts when visiting new places and there are groups in thousands of cities around the world.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers
A directory of clubs: http://www.gthhh.com
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4. Board Game: Fast Golf [Average Rating:4.94 Unranked]
Ben Kirman
United Kingdom
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
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Disc Golf
Golf is an expensive sport that requires lots of equipment and vast tracts of private high-upkeep land. Disc golf however, just requires a frisbee and a public park.
In it's simplest (and best) form, you head out to the park with a bunch of frisbees and a pencil and paper. Arbitrarily decide on a landmark to act as the hole (a big tree, goal post, etc) and see how many throws it takes you to reach the hole. Keep playing more holes until you are tired, lose the frisbee, or the pub opens.



Inevitably people have taken this fun activity too seriously and set up proper courses, a federation and designed various equipment, but its simplest form is still the best. It is also way more fun than you think it will be.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_golf
 
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5. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Jeffery Qualey
United States
Odenton
Maryland
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Bocci Ball can be played as an outdoor Crokinole.
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6. Board Game: Xiangqi [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1003]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
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Play Boardgames!



Combine it with physical exercise, if you wish:

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7. Board Game: Table Croquet [Average Rating:5.86 Unranked]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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With a slightly larger set, this can be played outdoors in the grass.

This was a staple at family reunions. We usually played poison, but sometimes played partners.

One of my more memorable games was post-marriage/pre-kids at a friend's house. He lived in a condo, so the yard was small, but had significant slopes. There were also copious gin-and-tonics. Come to think of it I remember the event happening, but the details are hazy....
 
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8. Board Game: The S.W.A.T. Game [Average Rating:4.25 Unranked]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Unfortunately for the last few weeks here in Michigan, this is the only game to be played outside. It can be combined with other activities, but must be the main one.
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